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Archive for the ‘Edge Finishes and Bindings’ Category

Anthea Blouse in Sky Blue Linen

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

While visiting my favorite local shop, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, one of the young women working there had on her version of this blouse. Asked the pattern name–Anthea by Anna Allen–went home and ordered it! The colors I’m wearing are Maine Summer and it is so flattering to many body types and comfortable.

Today’s blogpost takes you through making an entire blouse, which presser feet I use on my Janome (I’m a brand ambassador and compensated, but I’d say all this good stuff anyway…they rock!) m7Continental, why and offer tips and tricks for garment construction. Pretty much all Janome machines have or have available these presser feet with the possible exception of the automatic buttonhole, which many but not all of the Janome models have. Comment and let me know what more you’d like to know and what you’d like me to feature on the blog! I’m scaling back travel teaching and hope to have more time for this sort of thing.

The first thing to do is sew your side and shoulder seams. I opted for French seams for a clean, no-fraying finish. With a 5/8″ seam allowance, I sewed with the WRONG sides together at 3/8.” First press the seam as stitched (flat), then trim to a scant 1/4″ and press the seam allowance open.
Be sure to trim off the whiskers–you won’t be able to coax them inside the enclosing seam and trimming them later.is a headache.
This shows me holding the fabric with right sides together; the fabric is folded EXACTLY on the first line of stitching. You then sew 1/4″ away to enclose all the raw edges.
Sew the second part of the French Seam at 1/4″. If you’ve trimmed any stray threads/whiskers, you’ll have a beautiful clean seam. Press to one side (for my blouse I pressed to the back). Notice that the edge of the fabric/seam is on the 3/8″ line but the needle is moved right of center to be at the 1/4″ seamline.
Next, I am stabilizing the button band by using cotton voile (preshrunk) as my interfacing. Unlike the polyesters or fusible we are used to using, it provides strength without bulk and retains a soft, fluid hand to the garment. I sewed the edges in place (so the strip won’t wiggle and wad up during use). The zipper foot is one of my favorite ways to get a perfect, consistent edge: set the side of the foot on the edge of the interfacing and move the needle toward the center. Be sure it won’t hit the foot but also doesn’t ride on the very outer edge of the interfacing and chew it up. ON the left you can see stay stitching.
I’ve folded the cut-on button band to the inside and am now stitching it to the front. When I have a “lip” or folded edge and want to edge stitch, I use either the edge stitching foot (on the right, which I think of as the Ice Skate with the metal guide in the center) or the over cast foot (on the left, in use). Using a straight stitch, place the foot so the blade is snug against the fold and move the needle to make a nice, narrow topstitch. Be sure the needle won’t hit the wires in the presser foot by hand-walking the needle for one or two stitches.
Next up: applying a bias binding to enclose the seam and act as a facing on the neckline. Here I’m using what may be my favorite presser foot, the F2 appliqué foot. The wide open toes and clear visibility help me sew more carefully and precisely. This photo applies to both facing the neckline and covering the edges of the set-in sleeve seam.
Buying a GOOD quality tailor’s ham and base to hold it has been one of the best, most useful purchases of the year. After 50 years of using my mother’s horrid old ham, I’m ready to sew! Here I’m pressing the bias in place on the neckline. You can see the narrow French seam on the shoulder in the center of the photo. As I press, I am easing the bias so that it lays nice and flat. I used my seam gauge to make sure the depth is even, then edge-stitch all the way around the neck.
Once the body is complete (except for the hem), it is time to start the sleeves. Although I have sewn garments for almost (GULP) 60 years–yes I started very young–I’ve been taking an outstanding online course with Philippa Naylor, Garment Makers Question Time. The price is phenomenal for the amount of instruction you get each of the 12 months. More projects coming up! Anyway, I learned to set the gathering stitches at 1/2″ and 3/4″ and sew down the middle at 5/8″. Philippa’s way works better: sew your gathering stitches one thread into the seam allowance from the final seam line and 1/4″ closer to the raw edge. Gather, distribute the gathering appropriately, and then sew the seam just barely to the left of the left-side gathering stitch. I like using a thin bamboo skewer to coax and ease the gathers as I stitch. Again, I love that open visibility foot!

Here is a link to Philippa’s Garment Makers Question Time home page. Highly recommended!

Here is the sleeve with the seam sewn and gathers gathered. I was a tad leery that the shoulders would be too narrow, but I did the right thing and made a toile (practice garment) out of cheap cheap cheap white fabric, and the sleeve seam is indeed set in from the shoulder point–this helps the gathers get that nice rounded puff! For the hem, at the top of the next photo, I sewed a linen bias strip to the right side, turned to the inside, and hand-sewed it into place.
LOOKIT that perfect match! On the first try no less! Once the sleeves are sewn to the bodice, you’ll need to finish the raw edges. The gathers in the sleeves make it too thick for a French Seam, so I chose to use I used a bias edge finish similar to a single-fold bias binding on a quilt. On the neck, the bias was entirely folded to the inside of the garment. Here, you stitch the bias strip of fabric–a lightweight cotton lawn in lime green–to the seam, wrap it around the raw edges, then stitch in the ditch to secure it. I also managed a perfect join on the bias for the “cuff.” Note that the pattern has a wide opening for the bottom of the sleeve–way too wide for the size of my arms. I gathered it up more, making sure it still moved smoothly over/around the elbow, and just made mine narrower.
Covering up the raw edges where the sleeve joins the body. Again I’m using the zipper foot. For the way my eyes and brain work, I get the needle closest to the edge of the bias using the zipper foot and moving the needle as far right as it goes. Keep a hawk eye on your stitching because it is all too easy to wander and veer onto the bias.
Janome’s automatic buttonhole foot (available on select models including the 9450 and M7) is amazing. You set the button into the back and it picks the perfect size. You can fine tune it if the button is thick or thin. ALWAYS to a test-stitch on a scrap (using the same interfacing and number of layers). You can see I have carefully marked the center of the button holes plus the start and stop lines. The Janome foot has a metal base plate that keeps everything flat and feeding perfectly. Here’s a video of it in action!
You can subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking on the YouTube link (bottom left) and then following the subscribe button on that site, I don’t post often, but there are some useful videos there. Or just click here to go to my YouTube home page.
This is the setting I used.
Worn tucked in with a linen skirt in gray. Blouse fabric is the IL-19 5.3 oz linen from Fabrics-store.com. Skirt linen is the Driftwood Linen from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply near me in Belfast, Maine; I bought the Brumby skirt pattern there, too. Yes, they do online / mail order!
I had some leftover linen, so I made a scarf, too. I sewed a narrow zigzag on all four sides, then carefully frayed the edges. Here’s the link to the pattern again: Anthea by Anna Allen.
You can also wear the blouse out–it has a narrow 1/2″ hem.
You can even wear it to Broomstick Riding Lessons (at Alnwick Castle this summer)! Funnest photo and time ever!
And you can also wear it after you have walked from Scotland to England—all the way across a 100 foot long bridge! With my oldest son and DIL on a trip of a lifetime.

Well I can’t believe it has been half a year since I blogged… that tells you how crazy busy this summer has been. All good stuff, but all at once. I am looking forward to being HOME for three straight months once I return from Houston / International Quilt Festival where I’ll be teaching again. I will try my best to be back before the end of the year…like maybe even in a month?

Teaching Online this August! Join me!

Monday, June 21st, 2021

Guess what I’m teaching online again! in August at the Mancuso World Quilt Fest!  Enjoy the video below– and then go sign up for my workshops here:  https://www.quiltfest.com/register/world-quilt-show-online/workshops-by-instructor/sarah-ann-smith-bindings-facings/    For more info, you can also visit my workshop page here

Here’s the hotlink to sign up again: https://www.quiltfest.com/register/world-quilt-show-online/workshops-by-instructor/sarah-ann-smith-bindings-facings/

These are three of my favorite workshops, and in consideration of SUMMER and being able to get back out into the world (WOOOOOT!), I chose half-day workshops so you can learn then go play and actually smile at people–all of their faces–in person!

This is the LAST TIME I’ll be teaching online win a public venue (there are two guild jobs I’m doing online) this year, and I don’t know if I will be teaching online next year or not. For sure, I am cutting back on my teaching schedule, so get these while you can! Hope you’ll join me!

PLEASE feel free to comment and ask questions!

Winding Ways: quilt and done!

Saturday, August 29th, 2020
Good tools (AccuQuiltGO!), good fabric (Michael Miller Fabrics), good thread (Aurifil), good machine (Janome Continental M7), and some experience, and you can do a lot! This return to my quilty roots just makes me happy!

Over the course of the year I’ve shared progress on this quilt:

  • First, there was learning to use the AccuQuiltGO! which I blogged about here. It was a different block, but the easy applies.
  • Then there is the PIECING of CURVES: see the blogpost here or go directly to the video on my YouTube Channel here.
  • Now there is the quilting video (that covers a couple other things), embedded below and share-able on my YouTube Channel here.

Full disclosure: I have proudly been a Janome Artisan since 2003, and this year am a Michael Miller Fabrics Brand Ambassador for 2020. MMF provided the fabric and we were given, as part of being a brand ambassador, an AccuQuiltGo and several dies. To my surprise I enjoyed the process so much I have purchased both the Winding Ways and Crossed Canoe dies. Stay tuned for more!

This is the die that I purchased to make the Winding Ways, which has always been one of my favorite traditional blocks. Click this link to see a blogpost of using the AccuQuiltGO (for another block, but it’s the exact same process) including a video.
I found this design somewhere on the internet and printed it out to mess around with a design for a future quilt! Stay tuned for a WANDERING Winding Ways! Using a grid like this can help you plan out fun color fades and settings.

Next came machine quilting. I worked on that a while back–I did end up teaching for the Mancuso Online Quiltfest in August and will do a Threadcoloring the Garden workshop in October! More info on that soon! In this video I’m practicing making a video, demonstrating at the machine, and it just happens to be walking foot quilting (fast! easy!) on my beloved Janome M7. Even if I had paid full price instead of being a Janome Artisan I’d rave about this machine’s wonderfulness! Their new slogan, Reliability by Design, is really true!

Then, the hand quilting and the finishing!

I haven’t done any hand stitching in a thousand years, but nearly two years ago I bought matching green thread from aurifil in piecing/light quilting weight and a heavier 12-wt that is about the size of a light perle cotton or 6-strands of floss. I LOVE IT…and it went so fast! I can remember clearly sitting on the porch in early summer, something to watch on the iPad, stitching away.

I just love how an angled shot shows the texture and dimension. I was surprised at how quickly the hand stitching went. I used the same green color of thread on the green parts for machine quilting as the green in the heavyweight Aurifil thread.

I wanted to repeat the orange batik in the center on the edges, but using it as the binding was too much. I instead inserted a tiny stitched down “reveal” that is a scant 1/8″ just inside the white binding. Can I also put in a plug for Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture solids? The quality of the base cloth is SO GOOD! And the consistency in color / dye lots over the years is really amazing. I dye fabric and know how hard it is to get perfect matches from batch to batch and it does.

Last but not least, those skinny inserts and perfect corners.

I taught the half day version of my bindings workshop at the Mancuso Online Quiltfest in June and may do so again in the new year. I am scheduled to teach and have an exhibit of my work at the Mid-Atlantic Quiltfest in Virginia in February, but at this point who knows if it will be in person or online! I promise I will teach the bindings (full or half day) again in the new year online, just need to figure out when. My students in June had GREAT results online so it works online too!

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed my 2020 detour back to my quilty roots. Coming soon, a new art quilt!

Busy during Lockdown!

Monday, April 27th, 2020

I’ll be teaching at the Mancuso quilt shows later this year and next! They asked teachers to do a brief 1-minute video. To no one’s surprise, my first attempt ran long…at least it was only 3 minutes and not 10 LOL! But I decided to upload the longer version here. I hope you’ll enjoy this peek at what I’ve been doing and maybe take a workshop with me at one of the Mancuso shows–I’ll be in Massachusetts in August of 2020–or at International Quilt Festival Houston in Fall.

Mastering Metallics

Thursday, April 9th, 2020
Mastering Metallics is a half day workshop which will teach students to use metallic in both the needle and the bobbin. The workshop will debut at International Quilt Festival in Fall 2020, and is the half-day version of my Tame Fussy Fiddly Threads class. The class is Wednesday afternoon. Fly in Tuesday, join me in the Machine Quilting Forum (there are TWO this year!) Wednesday morning, then come take this workshop with me on Wednesday afternoon. We will finish up just in time to get to Preview Night at 5!

Ta DAAAA! A month or so ago, I asked for input from folks on Facebook about which color to make my project for my new Mastering Metallics workshop. Folks liked pretty much all THREE versions. I ordered up samples from Spoonflower:

Here’s the rather spendy order testing all three color ways and three fabrics: Petal Cotton (the basic), Cotton Poplin and Organic Cotton Sateen. Left to right colors are blue, sky blue and aqua, with the later two being VERY close…the aqua has just a bit more yellow in it.

I am hoping to sell the fabric on Spoonflower later this year–if anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll email you when it is ready. I am planning to offer the blue and aqua (but if someone REALLY wants the sky blue, in the middle above, just ask and I’ll add that also). I need to re-do the master graphic file to be 44″ across rather than 36″ vertically–I will need to add some larger snowflakes so they fit a 12 x 44″ space nicely without getting cut off at a 12″ line. This way, one yard would yield a table runner and four to six placemat tops. The Blue works perfectly with Michael Miller Cotton Couture Sailor, which I will use in class kits for the back and binding.

I ordered a full yard of the Sateen, which is what I used for my Thread-Coloring the Garden workshop which features a photo printed on fabric. I was delighted that the new Cotton Poplin showcased the snowflake design as well as the more expensive sateen, so I’ll use that in the workshop. That also means the table runners will be width-of-fabric, not the shorter 36 inches (I learned the hard way you need to print designs so the lengthwise grain of the fabric is vertical on the photo image with the sateen!).

First I used two of the less expensive 8″ samples to test various threads. The Petal cotton has a coarser weave–not as clunky as Kona Cotton, and the image is nice and crisp. The Cotton Poplin is softer and has a lovely hand to it, so I will choose that for the class kits.
The workshop kit will include Silver metallic (the snowflake being quilted here) and Halo used in the bobbin (upper snowflake). I’m also showing how to use the very heavy Razzle Dazzle on the sample, but to keep kit costs down won’t include it since the class time is just 3 hours. I will have some for sale, and it is of course readily available from Superior Threads. The heavy sateen is gorgeous, but given the cost I’ll use the still very nice poplin for class kits.
Detail of finished tablerunner. The crinkly looking snowflake is the Razzle Dazzle used in the bobbin. The others are done with Silver Metallic or Halo.
The quilting on the back looks awesome if I say so myself. LOVE my Janome M7 Continental! I’ll be teaching in Janome classrooms, so I wanted to fine tune settings to share with class by quilting this on my Janome. I ended up dyeing this fabric to sorta match. Because of the COVID-19 shut downs, I was unable to order the Cotton Couture Sailor (blue) fabric and receive it in time, and I needed to get the sample done quickly for Quilts. Inc to put in the class catalog. Kits will include backing, and I will have some extra if folks want to buy enough to bind the quilt. You can also order — Michael Miller is AMAZING at getting perfect color matching so one can also order the Cotton Couture Sailor to use on the back and bindings without worrying about color matching.
And one end of the table runner after I finished the binding and a little extra how-to tip that I’ll share in class.

I hope some of you will want to join me in class at International Quilt Festival–this pandemic physical-distancing should be well over by then! Sign ups usually go live in July, and I will be sure to share with you my teaching schedule, times, class numbers and so on. In the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing fabric from Spoonflower, let me know! If there is a fair bit of interest I’ll move that to a front burner on the to-do list.